A protein found in peanuts could lead to increased production of cytokines that promote cancer metastasis, suggests a new study.

When cancer spreads to a different body part from where it started, it is called metastatic cancer, also known as stage IV. At this stage, cancer is difficult to treat, and it accounts for most cancer-related deaths. While cancer often has the ability to spread throughout your body, certain factors can make tumours grow faster or increase the chance of developing metastatic cancer. Food is a primary catalysts that can trigger cancer cells to reproduce at a rapid rate. For this reason, cancer patients are often advised to avoid some foods when going through cancer treatment. Sorry, but peanuts are one of them.

After a series of studies, University of Liverpool researchers have concluded that heavy or very frequent consumption of peanuts by cancer patients might increase the risk of metastatic spread.

In the latest study, they have found that Peanut agglutinin (PNA) — a carbohydrate-binding protein that rapidly enters the blood circulation after eating peanuts — interacts with blood vascular wall (endothelial) cells to produce molecules called cytokines. The cytokines they are talking about, IL-6 and MCP-1, are well-known promoters of cancer metastasis.

As cytokine production increases, other endothelial cells are able to express more cell surface adhesion molecules, which make them more attractive to the circulating tumour cells and thus potentially promote metastasis, the researchers explained in the study published in Carcinogenesis.

New study supports previous findings

In an earlier study, the researchers had reported that circulating PNA binds to a special sugar chain, which happens mainly on pre-cancerous and cancer cells, and interacts with a larger protein expressed on the surface of tumour cells in the bloodstream.

The changes in the larger protein resulting from this interaction causes underlying adhesion molecules on the surface of the cancer cell to become exposed. This makes the cancer cells stickier and easier to attach themselves to the blood vessels, as well as allows them to form small clumps that prolong their survival in the body’s circulation. The authors also noted that many epithelial cancers spread to the other organs by traveling through the bloodstream.

These findings suggest that very frequent consumption of peanuts by cancer patients may increase risk of cancer spread, said corresponding author Professor Lu-Gang Yu, but he noted that further research and investigation are still needed.

Worst Foods For Cancer Patients

Cancer patients have to be cautious of their dietary intake as certain foods contain compounds that could accelerate the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body or delay your recovery process. Some foods you should avoid if you’re diagnosed with cancer include:

  • Meats that are deep fried, grilled, barbequed, or baked. This is because subjecting animal protein to high heat creates carcinogenic byproducts called heterocyclic amines.
  • Red meat and processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausages
  • Preserved foods like pickles, jams,
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Salty, sugary, or oily foods
  • Raw or unpasteurized food

Below are best foods to eat as a cancer patient to better manage your condition according to the National Cancer Centre Sin gapore (NCCS):

  • Green leafy vegetables ( for calcium and iron)
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage (research says these veggies contain plant chemicals that can convert bad oestrogen into good oestrogen, and hence reduce risk of a relapse)
  • Tomatoes, carr ots, peas, pumpkin and turnips (for vitamins and fibre)
  • A ntioxidant- rich asparagus and Brussel sprouts
  • Bitter gourd as it helps in lowering blood sugar levels

According to experts at the NCCS, tomatoes and parsley are especially good for prostate cancer patients.

Fruits like oranges, bananas , kiwi, peaches, mangoes, pears and strawberries, avocadoes, guava, apricots, figs, prunes and raisins are good for those having cancer. For proteins, cancer patients can choose lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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